Telangana: Tribals uncooperative; encroach forest lands, says DFO

Hyderabad: The Mancherial district forest officer called on the various alleged encroachments in Koyapochagudem by the tribal community here on Monday.

Interacting with the media, Mancherial’s district forest officer Shivani Dogra claimed that many tribals have encroached on the wild lands to set up huts and cultivate farms.

“Everything adjacent to Koyapochagudem is only forest land. That land belongs to the Kawal Tiger Reserve. There is no fallow land in either the forests or the revenue records. The forest lands of Dadepalle Mandal, Makulpet panchayat Koyapochagudem are all being encroached,” Dogra said.

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She said that due to the encroachment, there is a constant tiff between the tribals and the forest officials.

Dogra also said that the men use their women as a weapon to fight the forest officials.

The forest officer ensured that if the tribals cooperate with them and stop the encroachment, they will be provided with jobs in future forest works.

Referring to an incident where the tribals attacked the forest officials with pepper powder and sticks in which three forest officials were injured, Dogra warned of legal action if such incidents are repeated in the future.

Altercation between tribals and forest officials:

In an altercation between forest officials and tribal people in Chandrugonda village, Bhadradri Kothagudem district, tribal women lodged a police complaint alleging that they were beaten up by the forest officers.

The incident happened between June 24 and 25 but the First Information Report (FIR) was registered on June 26 (Sunday).

In the first incident reported, the tribal women allege that they were stopped by forest officials from planting cotton. In the second incident, forest officials reportedly attacked five tribal women who the latter allege that the former has been harassing them for years.

According to the tribal women, the forest officials do not allow them to cultivate cotton and podu.

When spoke to Forest Range Officer Srinivas Rao, he agreed that there was an altercation between his men and the people but not everything is true.

“There were around 30 people of which 10 were men and the rest are old women and some pregnant women. We were just six officers. These men intentionally let the women take the center stage and hence we end up arguing with their women,” he said.

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